Sofia marks anniversary of prevention of deportation of Bulgarian Jews

March 10 in Sofia saw a March of Tolerance, speeches and floral tributes marking the 81st anniversary of the prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews, and mourning for the more than 11 000 Jews deported from territories administered by Axis member Bulgaria during the Holocaust.

The March of Tolerance, organised by the Organisation of the Jews in Bulgaria Shalom and Sofia municipality, followed a route from St Sofia church to the monument commemorating the prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.

Those in attendance at the ceremony included Justice Minister Atanas Slavov, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Kristian Vigenin, Sofia deputy mayor Nikola Barbutov, the ambassador of the State of Israel Yosi Levi Sfari and other foreign diplomats, as well as leaders and members of Bulgarian and international Jewish organisations.

Opening the ceremony at the monument, Shalom president Professor Alexander Oscar said that the day was one of honour of all Bulgarians who came together and saved the lives of close to 50 000 Jews, but the day was also one of remembrance.

“We will not forget those who were not saved – over 11 000 people,” he said.

Deputy mayor Barbutov, citing the resistance in 1943 to the planned deportations, said: “I am convinced that these ideals are still alive today and we all must not only uphold them, but also teach them to our children, passing on the memory of March 10 1943.

“Sofia is a city of tolerance and wisdom, bequeathed to us over the centuries. That’s why I thank you for standing together here united in the name of goodness and basic human values,” Barbutov said.

“Our ancient city is part of the European family and the principles of dignity and human rights are the basis of our actions. And humanity and goodness are a cause for which we must be united and strong,” he said.

Wreaths and flowers were laid in honour of the Bulgarian Righteous Among the Nations – those non-Jews recognised for their roles in resisting the Holocaust – and 134 yellow tulips were laid, a symbol of the demand for the release of the 134 hostages taken by the Hamas terrorist group in its attack on Israel on October 7 2023.


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